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Issue 9   |   March 2000   |   Updated 3-17-00

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Web usability debate... Mexican graveyard scenes... online Valentine cards...
[Feb. 2000]

Yahoo! at last... Best of the Cool Award... Multimedia, the Web & CD-ROM...
[Jan. 2000]

Our new look... Goodbye, AOL... Tell your friends... Better critiques...
[Dec. 1999]

What I know about you... Teaching computer-based media... NY Minute wins Best of Show... Nudes in Parma
[Nov. 1999]

Graffiti & hip-hop... More student involvement = better critiques... Photoshop 5.5 vs. Fireworks 2
[Oct. 1999]

Swiss Design Quiz... Barcelona... AIGA / NASAD briefing paper... Response to Upgrade Junkies, Pt. 1
[Sept. 1999]

Upgrade junkies,
Part 1.

[Aug. 1999]

Report from International Design Conference at Aspen
[July 1999]

"Interactive Design" or "New Media?"
[July 1999]

If no author name is show, article is written by Al Wasco, author of this website.

Join in the conversation! Please send your comments on any article and/or suggestions for future articles by clicking on the [Email] link on any page.



...what's the point?
Last month web usability was the topic, a debate over style vs. function that I'm sure will continue for years to come.

The latest installment comes in the name of Flash. This vector-based animation software from Macromedia has become the darling of web designers. Flash-enabled sites are appearing everywhere. Clients are asking about it. And Amazon just emailed me a list of 4 or 5 best-selling computer books, all about Flash.

So, given that Flash is a good way to get animation and other types of interactivity on the Web, why use it?

In an article in New Media titled Kill HTML before it kills us, Neil Balthaser says:

We must summon the courage to throw away our crutches and rally behind the technologies that will liberate our creativity and open the doors of possibility. Currently, Flash is our best weapon. Drop HTML, pick up Flash, and really learn it — then push it.

I've seen a number of sites that use Flash effectively. I've visited some that don't function at all despite that fact that I have the latest plug-in installed. Those that do work often offer animation that's fancier, but no more interesting, useful or enjoyable than the average animated GIF.

Is better, faster animation the key to great interactive experiences? Is technology limiting our creativity or are we doing the easy part (buying new software) rather than the hard part (learning to create compelling experiences on the computer)?

All too often we look to software as our salvation:
"once I learn to use Flash (or javascript or DHTML or whatever), THEN I'll do really cool stuff."

So instead I've decided to put off using the latest, greatest software until it's been around for awhile and/or I've thought of a really good use for it. Short-sighted? Maybe. If you use Flash, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

[Email your comments]

Interactive design tutorial
For a tasty overview of the issues involved in designing for computer-based interactive media, presented in bite-sized chunks liberally spiced with online examples, we've added Val Casey's "On Web Design" to the menu in [RESOURCES].

More from Mexico
This month's splash screen banner image is a detail of graffiti on a playground wall on Isla Mujeres, a small island across the bay from Cancun, Mexico.
The chain-link fence and wall itself were painted in bright tropical colors, making the graffiti less noticeable than on a drab gray wall. Graffiti on a wall in Switzerland shows the contrast.

More updates
Rather than updating Interactive Design Forum only at the beginning of each month I'll be adding new material every two weeks. You'll get more timely information, I'll get a little more sleep on the 30th & 31st of each month.

Jobs & competitions
Check the [EDUCATION] section for the first of what I hope will become a regular part of this website: announcements of job openings in Interactive/New Media education, and information and deadlines for competitions, especially those with student categories.

If you have news in either category that you'd like to share with the 1000+ visitors who come to Interactive Design Forum each month, use the email link below to send it to me.

                                      - Al Wasco 3/17/00

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